The Gift of Health: Part 3 — Rest & Relaxation, Looking good, feeling good

VERO BEACH — In Parts 1 and 2 of this series about health and fitness related gifts for Christmas and Hannukah, we suggested gadgets and items and professional services designed to aid the athlete or fitness enthusiast in getting out there and enjoying an active lifestyle.

But great health isn’t about running around or playing sports all the time, it’s also about slowing down and sometimes even being pampered. Gifts designed to give loved ones a pass to relax for a while and to do things that make them look and feel better can be most appreciated, especially around the stress-laden holiday season.

Rest and Relaxation

Stress-related health problems run the gamut, from headaches and high blood pressure to heart disease and depression. Sometimes, doing nothing for a while is the toughest thing to get your loved one to do — but it can be the best medicine.

Yoga and meditation can work wonders to help center the mind, body and spirit and bring everything back into balance. The Vero Beach Book Center is a great resource to find books about meditation, spiritual practice or about any health or fitness topic. The staff there is very knowledgeable and will gladly special order a book for you if it is not in stock.

The timeless practice of yoga not only increases flexibility and strength, it also helps to clear the mental cobwebs and focus on one thing at a time.

“Chronic stress can lead to a variety of health and emotional problems. Yoga can be an effective method to reduce stress and anxiety,” according to the Mayo Clinic’s website.

Yoga forces the practitioner to slow down and breathe deeply. Living Yoga studio on 17th Street just west of Indian River Boulevard is dedicated to the art and practice of yoga at all levels of experience and ability.

Yoga classes are also offered at local health clubs and community centers across Indian River County and at country clubs and community clubhouses with fitness centers or meeting rooms.

A good yoga mat is an essential tool for the experienced yogi or the beginner and comfortable clothing for practicing yoga could also make a nice gift.

For home practice, a variety of helpful and informative yoga DVDs are on the market, with pregnancy yoga courses and even yoga for mother an child, which would make not only a great Christmas gift for someone who is expecting, but also a great baby shower present as well.

Massage has come into its own as a complementary therapy for a variety of conditions.

The Mayo Clinic cites that, while research is still being conducted into the health benefits of massage, “Some studies have found massage helpful for stress relief, managing anxiety and depression, pain, stiffness, blood pressure control, infant growth, sports-related injuries, boosting immunity and for comfort during cancer treatment.”

The result is “Encouraging improved instruction to each and every single gland, organ and part of the body, thus persuading the body to biologically correct, strengthen, and reinforce itself, to reach balance, normalization, and homeostasis.”

Local upscale beauty salons and spas, including Filomena Day Spa in the Village Shoppes offer massage therapy and reflexology treatments. Many spas offer special packages for the Christmas season for treating existing clients and introducing new ones to their services. Most country clubs and resorts in the Vero Beach area also have massage therapists either on staff or on call.

Looking good, feeling good

It’s probably universal that we feel better when we look better.

There are many aspects to looking better, from clothing to our skin to our smile and right here in Vero Beach there are gifts available to improve upon the appearance of all of these areas.

Women battle with gooey, irritating mascara to achieve long, thick eyelashes, sometimes even resorting to gluing on fake lashes or extensions.

Now there’s a product called Latisse that can grow thick lashes naturally in a few weeks or months, depending on the patient.

Chrissy Morris of New Vision Aesthetic Center said that the active ingredient in Latisse was actually discovered by accident, as it was present as an inactive ingredient in glaucoma drops.

The Latisse serum is dispensed by prescription by licensed medical doctors. It retails for about $120 to $150 for a three-to-four month supply and is available at a variety of local clinics, including New Vision and Dr. Gerald Pierone’s Facial Rejuvenation Center in Vero Beach.

They say beauty is only skin deep, but skin damage and its visible effects can go below the surface, requiring medical-grade solutions.

Aestheticians who work under the supervision of medical doctors can use skin products which not only enhance the appearance of the face and other skin, but that actually go to the cellular level and work on correcting the problems.

Both the New Vision Aesthetics Center and Dr. Pierone’s Facial Rejuvenation Center use a variety of medical-grade skincare treatments.

These treatments are not just for ladies, but also for gentlemen who wish to look younger, firmer and clearer. Special packages are available upon request for the holiday season at most aesthetic skincare centers.

On Monday, look for our last installment of “The Gift of Health,” focusing on the gift of sight and sound, as well as goodies that are also good for you.

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